December 21, 2005: GSA FILES FOR WALTER REED FOR GOVERNMENT USE

Jan 9, 2006
Press Release

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2005

GSA FILES FOR WALTER REED FOR GOVERNMENT USE
Land Transfer Bill Progresses

Washington, DC— The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that the Congresswoman has been informed that the General Services Administration (GSA) has filed a notice of interest in the federally owned Walter Reed Army Medical Center site, with a “primary intended use for administrative space to house federal agencies.” The GSA, which filed the notice with the Department of Defense, must submit a comprehensive application by January 16, 2006. Norton said that the next step in her capacity as ranking member of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the GSA is to “make certain that if the government does use the site, the use conforms entirely with the surrounding neighborhood.” She said that the GSA could still decide to use none of the site or to use only part of the site, making some use by the District still possible. 

In another matter, Norton also said that Poplar Point has been removed from the reconciliation bill, and she believes that the entire land transfer bill sponsored by her and Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) will be passed by the House early next year. 

Despite early indications that the federal government was not interested in the Walter Reed site because of its large hospital and historic and other buildings, the Congresswoman has continually warned the District that the city should not assume that the federal government would not use the property. However, she encouraged the District to take the step of setting up a Land Redevelopment Authority (LRA), and the Mayor announced that the District was taking this step on November 9. Congresswoman Norton said that the District should continue to plan for full use or partial use of the site in case the site or any part of it becomes available. However, she continues to believe that Walter Reed will not be moving in the foreseeable future because of the large cost of construction and of moving to Bethesda “with huge deficits already tying Congress in knots,” and because the Walter Reed Hospital is still in good shape. Thus, Norton said, “neither GSA nor anyone else is likely to have access to this site for many years.”